Friday, 1 April 2011

Risk Assessment of GM Foods for human health and environment

While the introduction of GM crops to solve the world food problem has come as a boon to a number of countries hit by food crisis, the experience gained so far has not been completely away from controversy. Many countries are facing opposition from various parties for the introduction of genetically modified seeds and crops in their fields. The problems are cultural, socio-economic and fears are not unfounded in a number of cases. So it becomes imperative for the countries and governments to conduct an exercise in environmental risk assessment carefully to avoid controversy introduction of new crop varieties. The program of risk assessment must include all elements that influence the introduction of any new use of non-organic varieties.

The history of risk assessment of GMOs:

When the new food (plant varieties, animal or micro-organisms) have been developed by traditional breeding methods are not generally subject to specific market risk pre-and post-market safety assessment or by national or international standards. This is in contrast with the needs of GMOs and GMOs. The concept of risk assessment of GMOs was discussed in 1975. At that time, the discovery of recombinant DNA has raised concerns among researchers about the potential creation of recombinant viruses whose escape would endanger public health and damage to the environment. Fourteen months after a voluntary moratorium on research involving recombinant DNA, the guidelines for experiments on physical and biological containment riskier were developed and adopted by the countries involved in the process.

The first legal regulation was designed to prevent accidental release of microorganisms from research facilities. Guidelines framed later approached the market of pre-human health and the requirement for environmental assessment and safety for all foods and GMOs. Many countries have implemented systems from the market before the adoption of specific regulations that require a rigorous assessment of GMOs prior to their release into the environment and / or use in food. This is to ensure adequate protection in this regard.

To ensure the consistency of the international risk analysis of GMOs, and a series of international standards bodies and regulators have adopted uniform rules. These include standards for human health and environmental safety assessment of GMOs, etc. The goal of uniform global standards for risk assessment would have been difficult, countries are required to make different decisions on the scope of the assessment, in particular resolution of whether to include social or economic.

The problems are complex and varied interests of stakeholders are often contradictory. The challenge, therefore, countries and governments and the reflection is to design a set of rules and policies that balance the interests of various stakeholders and are perceived as fair and equitable.